Another week, another of Crypto Tidbits. After last week’s collapse, Bitcoin (BTC) took some time to settle, finding itself trading in the low-$8,000s for an extended period of time. Analysts are currently divided over what this consolidation means for the cryptocurrency market’s short-term future, with some even arguing that this is a precursor to another bear market — Crypto Winter 2: Electric Boogaloo, so to speak.
Regardless, the underlying industry still saw a number of positive developments over the past seven days. They include the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) declaring Bitcoin a non-security, growth in the ecosystem of altcoins, and Bakkt’s completion of a physically-settled block trade.
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Bitcoin & Crypto Tidbits
- Crypto Crisis: PayPal Leaves Libra Association: Libra, the crypto project founded by Facebook, has just suffered a heavy blow according to a number of sources. Speaking to the Wall Street Journal on Friday afternoon, a spokesperson for the fintech giant, PayPal, said that the company has decided to “forgo further participation” in the project. Despite this, they added that PayPal continues to support Libra’s mission to democratize finance, and will thus keep its options open with Facebook in the future. This announcement comes shortly after sources to the Financial Times said that PayPal representatives did not make an appearance at a Libra-focused event in Washington.
- Mastercard, Visa, Stripe Also Skeptical of Libra: In similar news, sources told Bloomberg that Visa, Mastercard, and Stripe are currently hesitant to sign the Libra Association’s inaugural charter in fear of angering regulators, most of which have expressed heavy reservations about crypto, the people said. Bloomberg’s sources added that the four payment giants’ executives believe that Facebook “oversold the extent to which regulators were comfortable with the project” and are fearful about the social media giant’s historical handling of data privacy.
- SEC Staff Claim Bitcoin Isn’t a Security: According to a letter published on September 1st, some of the SEC’s staff revealed that they don’t believe that Bitcoin is a security. “Among other things, we do not believe that current purchasers of bitcoin are relying on the essential managerial and entrepreneurial efforts of others to produce a profit,” the staff wrote in response to a cryptocurrency firm’s assertion that Bitcoin is a security in their eyes.
- Bakkt Completes Bitcoin Block Trade: Revealed in a press release published late this week, Bakkt, the Intercontinental Exchange-backed company, has just completed the first physically-settled block trade of its Bitcoin contract. The transaction’s size was not revealed, but the trade was claimed to have been issued between OTC desk XBTO and Mike Novogratz’s Bitcoin merchant bank, Galaxy Digital.
- Apple CEO Not Excited About Crypto Trend: In an interview with French publication Les Echos, Apple’s chief executive, Tim Cook, quipped that cryptocurrencies are not something that Apple is pursuing at the moment. Cook argued that currency is something that should “stay in the hands of states.” The technology executive went on to say that he isn’t comfortable with “the idea of a private group setting up a competing currency”, seemingly referencing Facebook’s Libra. Cook’s assertion that Apple will not have its own crypto asset comes after an Apple executive told CNN earlier this year that the technology behemoth is “watching cryptocurrency”, as they believe it has “interesting long-term potential”.
- Ohio Treasury Shuts Down Businesses’ Ability to Pay Taxes in BTC: The new Ohio Treasurer Robert Sprague has announced that his state’s decision to accept business taxes paid in Bitcoin will be reversed. Sprague explained in an official statement that this decision has much to do with how Ohio’s cryptocurrency payment processor, BitPay, is defined by state laws. While many saw this as a blow to Bitcoin’s viability, fewer than 10 companies actively used the cryptocurrency payment option.
- BitPay to Add XRP Support: Announced in a press release published on Wednesday morning, Atlanta-based crypto payments giant BitPay has partnered with Ripple’s developer initiative, Xpring, to enable XRP payments through “BitPay’s merchant processing and cross-border payments platform safely, securely, and compliantly.” This payment method will be activated by the end of the year. Speaking on the matter of the recent move, BitPay’s Sean Rolland remarked that XRP payments are important as they are “fast, cost-effective and scalable”. Ethan Beard, the Senior Vice President of Xpring, also expressed his excitement, quipping that this partnership with XRP will be “key in advancing the proliferation and adoption of XRP as a medium of exchange to help solve real-world problems.”
- Ethereum “DeFi” DApp Completes Seed Round: Announced in a blog published at the turn of the month, InstaDApp, an Ethereum DeFi portal that aggregates major protocols “using a smart wallet layer and bridge contracts”, has bagged some $2.4 million in funding from investors like Coinbase Ventures, Pantera Capital, Robot Ventures, and IDEO Colab, prominent Silicon Valley investor Naval Ravikant, former Coinbase executive Balaji Srinivasan, “amongst many others”. Coupled with the funding, InstaDApp brings on Edward Moncada, CEO of Blockfolio and “Ming Ng, who collaborates closely with prominent projects including Handshake, Kyber, and Blockfolio,” to its advisory board.
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